Hedge End councillors have managed to get a reasonable distribution of committee places in the new, slimmed down Borough Council. There are only two scrutiny panels this year instead of four, so fewer places to go round.
All our councillors sit on the Hedge End West End and Botley Local Area Committee, and St John’s Councillor Peter Hughes is the new vice-chair. New Hedge End Town Councillor and Deputy Mayor Rupert Kyrle continues as chair.
St John’s Councillor Jane Welsh is vice-chair of the Licensing Committee and sits on the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel and the Standards Committee.
Councillors Peter Hughes and Jenny Ann Hughes are both on the Resources Scrutiny Panel, as is Councillor Derek Pretty who also has a place on the Licensing Committee.
New Hedge End Town Councillor Dan Clarke represents West End on the Borough Council and is the new vice-chair of the Administration Committee and also sits on the Audit and Risk Management Committee.
Another change is that the Leader (our very own Wildern Councillor Keith House) gets to appoint his cabinet personally instead of having it voted in by the Council. Keith chose not to bring in any new blood to his executive team. He remains Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Resources, and is a member of the Administration Committee. Grange Park Councillor Louise Bloom is Cabinet Member for the Environment and a member of the Standards Committee.
Hedge End Blogger asked Keith how he came to choose the cabinet and how the Council’s priorities will affect Hedge End in the coming year. Here is his reply.
“The Lib Dems in Eastleigh construct the Cabinet that leads the Borough in a democratic manner. After deciding as a Group on their Leader, they then vote within their Local Area Committee teams to decide who should Chair and Vice-Chair the Local Area Committee, and who they want to represent the area on the Cabinet. The Group as a whole then choose two additional Cabinet members, one each from the north and the south of the Borough.
This year Botley Councillor (and County councillor for the St John’s and Wildern Wards of Hedge End) Rupert Kyrle has again been chosen to Chair the Local Area Committee, with St John’s Ward councillor Peter Hughes serving as Vice-Chair. Grange Park councillor Louise Bloom has been elected to the Cabinet and retained her brief for the Environment. Our area has a third Cabinet member in Botley councillor Cathie Fraser, who has the Health and Community Safety portfolio.
These are all experienced councillors, very able to speak-up for Hedge End. The key issues confronting the Borough over the coming year matter immensely to Hedge End. We have the need to continue to find genuine efficiency savings to avoid cuts in front-line services so we can achieve our pledge of keeping Council Tax 1% below inflation. We have the challenge of taking forward the Rose Bowl project, which will create 200 jobs and new income to the council as well as hopefully bringing regular Test Matches to our area. And most significantly we have to take forward the Borough’s Core Strategy for housing, employment and our countryside. This will allocate development sites for the next twenty years. Our commitment is to meet real local need yet also to keep the countryside gaps between our communities. This will not be easy. We hope to start this process in July and then run a major consultation exercise later in the autumn. Whatever consultation we do will be genuine, asking real questions and wanting real views back from our community.
So there is plenty for the Council to get its teeth into over the coming year. We will, as always, keep residents informed throughout the year. “
Thanks Keith for taking the time to give more than a quick soundbite.
The next full council meeting will be on 14th July.